Making the decision to diversify your business and join an online platform is a very promising way of increasing sales. When bearing in mind the conveniences offered with online shopping and current statistics indicating that many businesses make more than twenty percent of their sales online, it is worth considering expansion into the online world.
The fact of the matter is that eCommerce business has changed the game in many ways but in other ways, the retail businesses and shopping centers, of the “brick and mortar” world will forever have a hand in providing a great one on one customer experience. The key is being able to offer something so appealing that the “would-be” online shopper is driven to put down their phone, step away from the computer and walk into your store. Here we will provide you with a few suggestions as to how to make that happen!
Seven Strategies to Entice Customers to Walk Through Your Doors:
#1 Offer In-Store Exclusives: Provide a unique experience to customers by setting up free demonstrations or in-store discount deals. For example, grocery stores have been known to offer demonstrations on a special knife or cutlery set. This is especially attractive during the gift-giving season. The demonstration would show samples of what the various knives are capable of doing, as well as offering the sets at discounted prices to X number of customers. Another demonstration example would be a hair salon giving tips on blow-drying or curling techniques.
Offering exclusive in-store deals will help increase foot traffic to customers who are price conscientious. Not only will it reduce the possibility of them shopping with a competitor but customers appreciate when companies offer exclusive deals that help them save money while still getting a quality product and service.
#2 Get Directly Involved in the Community: This could include a food or clothing drive that benefits the community. Individuals always appreciate seeing others involved in the well-being of their local neighborhood. This type of involvement by brick and mortar companies often creates customer loyalty and free word of mouth advertising.
Additionally, you could offer a variety of fundraising events or a free educational program that is geared towards health or fitness. When you incorporate your product or service into this free event it will inherently build your company brand and customers will likely view you as an expert.
#3 Provide the Personal Touch: Staff should be knowledgeable in all the products and services your business offers. When people do opt to shop local, they are typically seeking optimal service, a quality product and immediate satisfaction. In fact, if you excel at all of these items, then customers may be willing to pay a little more for the experience they know they can count on when walking in your store.
A prime example of this is the Apple store. First of all, people routinely form an opinion at first sight and walking into an Apple store is visually pleasing and customer service is available, but not in the hovering sense. The store offers plenty of display items for hands-on testing, shelves are stocked with a variety of options, prices and descriptions are easily accessible at the display items and team members are available to answer questions or help you make a purchase without waiting in a long line.
When people walk through the doors of an Apple store, they know they’re not paying the lowest price for a product, however Apple has positioned themselves as experts in quality, service and customer satisfaction. Any business is capable of achieving this with the right approach and product.
Train your staff to keep your business tidy throughout the day. Also encourage them to always be mindful of their appearance to others. Quite often if staff look bored, unhappy, or frustrated, it can be a turn-off to customers who had intentions of shopping in your store.
#4 Take Advantage Of Your Retail Location: As part of your marketing strategy to increase walk-in customers and local sales, take advantage of online tactics that are designed to steer customers your way. By taking a few steps to get your business found online through iBeacon technology. This may include setting up details on platforms such as Yelp.com, Google Maps, white pages and others. Your business will be seen when consumers are searching for local shops that carry specific items or provide certain services.
#5 Is Your Business Enjoyable to Visit: Take a moment to walk in your customers shoes and confirm if your business is a place that attracts people. Is the atmosphere appealing? Are there ways you could make the shopping experience more fun or social? Could you pamper your customers by offering just a little more, such as a free cup of coffee, hot chocolate, water, fresh baked goods, etc.
Show customers that you care by setting up charging stations so they can charge cell phones while they shop. This is actually a meaningful amenity when you consider that at least 74% of the population owns a smartphone. Offer free Wi-Fi to customers so they can look for in-store coupons while shopping with you. If your business can accommodate, make it pet friendly and have animal treats and water bowls. These conveniences and extra touches are very attractive to customers.
#6 Offer a Rewards or Loyalty Program: The thought of getting something free is attractive to practically everyone. Consider starting a rewards or loyalty program so customers will come back repeatedly in an effort to earn their free or discounted item. This sends a message to your customers that you appreciate their business and want to offer something in return.
#7 Collect Customer Information: At the time of checkout collect data from your customers. By gathering email addresses, you’ll have contact information that will equip you with the option to send out loyalty appreciation discounts, holiday savings, exclusive in-store deals, newsletters of what’s happening at your business. Encourage customers to provide the information so you can be entered into a free giveaway drawing. Be creative.
Let Technology Help You Grow
If you already have an online presence, be sure that you honor online deals to customers that visit your physical store. This helps create consistency across the board and you reap the benefits of having both an online and retail presence.
Brick and mortar stores will most likely have a place for many years to come. However, with the expansion of technology and so many retail and service businesses having both a physical and an online presence, it is worth considering growing into that direction in some form.
Inform Customers of Current Sales and Deals
Take advantage of technology and allow it to help your physical store increase traffic and sales. In addition to incorporating the iBeacon or BFO technology that directs people to your location, perhaps also consider having a companion app created. This is an app that is designed to enhance the customer’s experience while shopping in your store. It can be used to announce current deals you have in place as well as getting to the detail of directing them to the precise aisle of a specific product. If you are a service company, it can act as a sales flyer alerting of current offers.
Nurture Customer Relationships
When you create a presence via social media, such as Facebook & Instagram, it provides a chance for you to interact with your customers in a friendly, social manner. Facebook is about building relationships and people, by nature so are social characters. Be mindful that if you do opt to communicate on Facebook that you or a team member commit to being responsive to comments as it reflects on your involvement 7 engagement.
Since the Internet is here to stay, embrace the variety of ways that are now available to market brick and mortar business. The level of involvement you are comfortable in engaging is completely up to you; but when it can increase visitors to your store by posting your contact information online, or when you decide to engage in conversation on Facebook by taking a few quick moments to setup a business page, or if you’re brave enough to venture out and create a video for YouTube, you’re not taking away from your brick and mortar business, but you are increasing the likelihood of attracting a brand new audience.
Get Familiar with Building Facebook Ads for your retail Business
If you’re looking to Build a successful Facebook ad strategy for your retail business we have a few tips to help you get started. To see how you can use Facebook ads for your retail business, check out our pillar page on how to Build a successful Facebook ad strategy for your retail business.